Random Cover of the Week – Homages to MINGUS!

Instead of having one Random Cover of the Week, we’re going with three. All are homages to my favorite jazz composer, Charles Mingus. I listened to Mingus’ music for about 4 hours today (it’s something of a ritual when I work from home), and it got me thinking that his tunes were so well written, there must be good covers out there. I realize I’m using the term “cover” loosely here, since many of his songs have become jazz standards, and I’m not sure I would put standards in the “covers” category. But it’s my column dammit, and I want to hear some Mingus. So listen we will.

David Byrne – “Haitian Fight Song”
This is David Byrne of Talking Heads fame. Of course, if you know anything about his career you know that Talking Heads is just the tip of the iceberg for this incredible musician. He did this rendition with a group of Scottish musicians.

PROJECT Trio – “Fables of Faubus”
It’s not often you see a trio of cello, upright bass, and flute. But it works here. They’re playing “Fables of Faubus”, Mingus’ protest song against Arkansas governor Orval Faubus, and staunch opponent of integration.

Greg Howard – “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”
This song was Mingus’ elegy for saxophonist Lester Young, who died shortly before the recording session for Mingus Ah Um. The funny looking instrument Greg’s playing is a Chapman Stick.